Portal 2 - Xbox 360

Game Description: Portal 2 for Xbox 360, the sequel to Valve's mind-bending puzzler picks up a number of years after the events of the original game, and tasks players with using new physics-based mechanics to outsmart the AI overlord of Aperture Science, GLaDos.
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PAX Prime 2010: Portal 2 Co-Op Hands-On Impressions

PAX Prime 2010: Portal 2 Co-Op Hands-On Impressions

By Stephen Johnson - Posted Sep 03, 2010

PAX Prime 2010 Portal 2 Co Op Screens Delight

What We Know: The folks at Valve were genuinely surprised when their quirky, mind-bending, puzzle shooter Portal became a smash hit when it was released as part of the Orange Box back in 2007. It’s hard to imagine Valve being surprised with success, but by their own admission, they just weren’t sure if gamers would embrace it. So when it came time to start thinking about Portal 2, Valve decided to take everything that players loved about the first game, and build it out into a standalone title that not only expands the gameplay into tons of challenging and varied ways, but that delivers a more complex and deep narrative experience that picks up “several lifetimes” after the first game.

What We're Seeing Now: The developers at Valve noticed something peculiar when people started playing Portal: Although the game is single-player, gamers converted it into a two-player game, with one dude driving and another offering helpful suggestions. Sequel to the rescue: Portal 2 will feature built in co-op. The PS3 and 360 versions will feature both online and couch-based, two-player action.

At PAX 2010 this year, I was lucky enough to try out the co-op during Valve's demo of the new mode. My palms were sweating a bit. I'm not use to gaming in front of an audience, and I didn't want to make G4 look bad. Luckily, Portal 2 controls pretty much like Portal -- left button shoots one portal, right button shoots the other -- so gameplay wise,  I was straight.

Portal 2 Co-Op

The demo at PAX showed off the beginning of the game's two-player track. It's totally separate from single-player, and Valve says it's about twice as long as the entirety of Portal. A key difference from the first game are the characters. Chell is saved for the single-player experience. In co-op, players take the role of either a skinny, orange robot or a fat, blue one. Each has a portal gun, and the two work together to solve challenges presented by GLADos.

The combination of a fat one and a skinny one has been a comedy staple since Laurel and Hardy, and it works here, too. The addition of gestures helps. Some are contextual, and some, like waving or hugs, can be done any time. More games need hug buttons -- watching the two mechanical pals hug it out is hysterical and touching.

An equally funny element: GLADos. Apparently, the close relationship of the two robots troubles the manic-depressive AI, as she spends the game seemingly trying to drive a wedge between them. Although there's no real competitive element to the gameplay, GLADos loves pointing out how much better one robot did on a test over the other.

Because there are twice as many portals at play in Portal 2, as well as new gameplay elements like propulsion gel, repulsion gel, and the newly-introduced light bridges, the puzzles have the potential of being exponentially more complex as the first game. The first couple puzzles in the demo were simple, but definitely hinted at the possibilities coming in the full game. For example, you can jump in an infinity fall portal combination, then have your partner rocket you out with great force -- in the case of the demo, across a great chasm of goo.

Portal 2 Co-Op

A new puzzle element introduced at PAX is the light bridge. It's basically a beam of light you walk on, so it's possible to direct it through portals, and light your way to the exit.

Overall, the co-op demo had that most enviable of video game problems: It was too short. I played the game for around 15 minutes, and could easily have sat there for 15 hours. The addition of another player to Portal 2's first-person puzzling is a pure joy, if for no other reason than the ability to say "Did you see that?" and know the answer is "Yes."

Portal 2 comes out on the PC, Mac, PS3 and 360 on February 9.

Comments are Closed

  • DragonRider6

    Lol I still don;t understand how they are pulling this off. I have this weird idea in my head that the skinny, orange bot and can only shoot orange portals and blue, fat one can only shoots blue portals, but that would probably require to much coordination.

    Posted: September 6, 2010 4:12 AM
  • Yellig

    The article mentions that the PS3 & 360 are getting co-op. Is there any info about the PC getting co-op -- either positive or negative?

    Posted: September 6, 2010 2:32 AM
  • supercoolioguy

    idk what i enjoyed about portal was that it was short enough that it didnt feel repatitve but idk maybe valve can change my mind about a full length portal game...still think its going to be phenominal just dont know if its going to be as great

    Posted: September 5, 2010 7:55 PM
  • ottsel_juicer

    OMFG I CANNOT WAIT! portal1 is like one my favorite games of all time, i think i'll have a total nerd-gasm when portal2 comes out.

    Posted: September 4, 2010 9:33 AM
  • murrdurrurr

    I'm still trying to think of how it will work. Can your blue portal go to his or her orange one?

    Posted: September 3, 2010 7:59 PM
  • xXDeadlyPixelXx

    Why does it say that the game will come out February 8th on top but at the end of the report it says February 9th. Which one is it?!?!

    Posted: September 3, 2010 6:38 PM
  • niglett

    i need a demo!!! this will finally get me to force my friends to get sick from all of the infinite falling

    Posted: September 3, 2010 5:31 PM
  • EchoEpsilon

    All these new, awesome games are going to kill my wallet.

    Posted: September 3, 2010 4:49 PM
  • GunslingerD7

    wow this sounds like a winner already! I can not wait to play this,get some couch co-op goin should really fun.

    Go short fat blue robot! lol

    Posted: September 3, 2010 4:43 PM